Islington Hands Of Our Public services (I-HOOPS) is fighting the good fight here in what is, despite the surrounding wealth, one of the poorest boroughs in Britain. On Tuesday, 14 December, 20 campaigners held a freezing cold alternative carol singing outside St James Church Clerkenwell, with the local tories inside. They had invited Eric Pickles MP as their guest but we are pleased to report, as stated by the non-kettling bobbies who kept us out of the ticket only do, that Pickles was unable to attend 'due to parliamentary duties'. One up for us.
Then on Wednesday we supported a Unison march to the local town hall in protest at 300 job losses, many in essential caring services. Around 500 braved the cold and rain walking down Upper Street to the toots of many motorists. Jeremy Corbyn spoke of the lead shown by the students and the need to build for the 26th March TUC sponsored demonstration. The council leader Catherine West had the more difficult job of calling for unity against the Government while her council was starting with the cuts. She was cheered, however, when she supported a call for a national conference of councillors plus trade unions and foreign anti-cuts campaigners. Gary Heather, chair of the Islington Trades Council called for support for the I-HOOPS demonstration against the cuts on 29th January. Many other trade union and community activists spoke in a rally that showed great unity and potential for growth.